eugeneh at HUMANITIES1.COHUMS.OHIO-STATE.EDU
Thu Nov 10 14:25:28 MST 1994
Thanks to Justin Schwartz for his reply.
The reason I like the "labor theory of surplus value" formulation is
that it implies (something I've said all along) that Marx never used
the LTV as a "theory of prices" (as Justin says) -- at most as a
theory of "aggregate prices" (as Fred Mosley put it) aimed at showing
how the working class as a whole produces more value than it can buy
back. Thus in the later volumes, Marx doesn't have to take anything
back; he shows how SV is distributed (in but not only in profit).
The problem with the "corn" theory of surplus value is what it *can't*
explain rather than what it can: simply put, corn doesn't shop, and SV
arises from the purely relative difference between (aggregate) value
produced and value consumed.
There's a logical problem, too: to say that all commodities are made
equivalent on the market does not mean that they all contain some
quantity of one another (as you suggest): labor is materially involved
in the production of all commodities in a way distinct from the way
all commodities are (implicitly) involved in the evaluation of all
You're case for a specifically market socialism thus turns out to be
weaker than it need be: if *all* commodities could be exploited, then
you'd have to eliminate *all* markets to eliminate exploitation! But
since only labor is exploited, eliminating the labor-market alone is
sufficient and necessary to accomplish all those good things you end
your message with: abolish classes (cooperative production means no
non-working owners and no non-owning workers), end exploitation of and
domination in production, reduce alienation....
Thanks again for the formulation.
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